No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Marina Fever

Marina Fever has struck but we will have to fight it for another 3 weeks before we can cast off and get out onto the Canal, meanwhile we have a few little jobs on the boat to keep us busy.

We have some pieces of wooden sculpture appearing around the Marina courtesy of Tony Darlington ( the piece pictured below is about 5 feet high.

All hand carved.

Another one being worked on.

Sunday was the last of the two open days at the Marina, weather was a bit overcast in the morning so not as many people around, even so over £500 was raised for 2 charities, Starlight and Medecins Sans Frontieres  mainly by 2 raffles, all the prizes were donated including a discount off your next mooring fee.
Ian, (the Marina's Mr Fixit) and his wife Sue own 3 Horses, they brought one to the Marina on Sunday Morning, a journey of around 6 miles, as far as they know Monarch is 16 years old, they are not quite sure as he came from a Horse rescue sanctuary.

Ian Driving with Roger riding Shotgun.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

More Egg's and an Open Weekend

The picture below is of Daffy and Dora two of the Marina Ducks, they have been coming to our side doors since April 2008, we know they are the same pair as Daffy has a claw missing from his right heel and also a bit missing from his tail. We had given up on them ever producing offspring but this year may be different, Dora has stopped coming, only Daffy appears now for food, Dora has been spotted on a well camouflaged nest sitting on 7 eggs.

Daffy and Dora in 2008

Last year when we returned from our Summer Cruise, after being away for 5 months it only took them a couple of hours to realise we were back and appear at the window.

Well camouflaged nest in a flower bed

Saturday was the first day of the Marina open days, Jayne and I had been asked to collect 162 pre ordered bread rolls from Morrisons at Lichfield, we arrived at Morrisons at 7.55, 5 minutes before they opened, the competitive shoppers were already in position behind their trolleys close to the locked doors, at 8.00 the doors were opened and whoosh they were in, after the rush we went straight to the Bakery, collected the rolls and left without any injured ankles.

A study in concentration, Ian cooks Sausages and Bacon on the Barbecue

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What Lies Beneath

When we Cruised the Grand Union Canal through Milton Keynes last year we thought how nice it was for an urban Canal, but there have been some dodgy goings on down there, when the Milton Keynes branch of the Inland Waterway Association had a Canal Clean-up at the beginning of April they dragged out 12 tons of rubbish, amongst the usual shopping trolleys and bikes they removed 2 telescopic sighted rifles and a blown safe !!

More delays for boaters hoping to cruise the North Oxford Canal between May 9th to 19th, British Waterways are closing the Canal so that a bridge can be demolished, it has fallen into such a state of decay that it has become a danger to boaters and anyone else around, Punch Taverns who own the bridge have known about the stability problems since November 2008.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Out and About

Out on my bike at 7.30 this morning, not a cloud in the sky, down the tow path to Fradley Junction and right onto the Coventry Canal as far as Streethay Wharf where I found the now famous Narrowboat Reckless .

Reckless, now for sale at Streethay.

Fradley Junction is one of the busiest honeypots on the Canal system, with the Canal Junction, two cafes, a nature reserve, locks and a popular pub, on a sunny day it's heaving with people, so what do British Waterways propose to do, they are going to close the information centre !!!   I would have thought that with the impending changes in the way the Waterways are run and the desire to get more people involved that places like this are more important that ever.

Hundreds of people around so lets close the Infomation Centre.

Cycling back I stopped to say hello to Geoff and his dog Meg off Narrowboat Seyella, they were moored on the Visitor moorings above Shadehouse Lock, he had just got back from his morning run.

Further on a Woodend Lock, Ex-Working Boat Dove was going through on there way to the Ellesmere Port Easter Boat Gathering

Dove, leaves Woodend Lock.

Latest on the Swan Family at King Bromley Marina is that there are now seven eggs in the nest.

Managed to snap this one as Mom and Dad swapped over duties.

We've had a busy week so tonight we are off to the Old Peculiar at Handsacre, a couple of pints of Theakstons Black Bull Bitter for me and a Soda and Lime (very cheap) for Jayne.

I have just noticed that the pub is called the Old Peculiar but that Theakstons produce a beer called Old Peculier, I have Emailed them for an explanation of their spelling as I cannot find it in our Dictionary, possibly Yorkshire lingo.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Back to Base

The dock was flooded on Monday morning, we reversed across the Marina, through the narrow entrance and out onto the Trent and Mersey Canal.

In comes the water.

The narrow arch leading to the Canal.

Bridge 36 on the Trent and Mersey Canal, no room for error.

We had a good run back apart from a very heavy shower going through Fradley but the sun came out as we turned into the Marina.

Today Jayne has been out shopping filling the kitchen cupboards which had become a bit depleted and I have made a start on tidying up a few rust spots on the boat.

Monday, 11 April 2011

In The Dock.

We went into the dock bang on time Friday morning following a 58 footer in, they moved over to the right hand side and No Direction was on the left, both boats were lined up so that when the water was pumped out they would be sitting on the stocks with the base of the hull 3 feet off the floor giving a good working height. The pump which is driven by a 4 cylinder Ruston Diesel engine emptied the dock in around 20 minutes.

The vertical rods are there to line the boat up so that it settles on to the stocks, then they are removed.

The Pump.

Empties the dock very quickly.

Once the dock was empty the pressure washing began and lasted about an hour, then another couple of hours for everything to dry out, I could then start scraping and sanding any weed and loose material off the hull.

A Marina local keeps an eye on things.

Saturday morning I applied a thick coat of Comastic Vinyl Tar by brush around the hull at waterline level as this is the area most likely to suffer from rust, in the afternoon the whole hull had another coat by roller and Sunday morning another roller coat was applied.
I used less Comastic that I thought I would as the covering that was on originally was still in good condition.

Resting at a good working height.

Using the dry dock at Shobnall has been good, included in the price for D.I.Y. blacking is a pressure wash carried out by one of there staff which saves you getting wet and dirty, after that they leave you alone but are always available for advice, we will certainly use them next time.  

So tomorrow (Monday) morning at 9 o'clock they let the water back in and we reverse out of the dock trying not to scrape off to much of our new blacking. 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Ready for Blacking

Thursday, 7th April 2011
Kings Bromley Marina to Shobnall
11.5 Miles  13 Locks.  ( Note to Starcross, 11.5 metric, miles imperial, can't get away from it.)

Today we travelled from Kings Bromley to Shobnall and are now moored outside Shobnall Marina ready for the call tomorrow at around 9.15 to maneuver into the dock.  Leaving Kings Bromley just before 8 o'clock this morning we had a good run with no hold up at any of the Locks, there was a queue at Branston Lock but they were all going the other way, mostly hire boats which had left Mercia Marina this morning. 

Jayne is being picked up by her sister at 10 o'clock on Friday leaving me to get on with it, the first thing to happen when the dock is pumped dry will be the scraping and pressure washing of the hull by the Shobnall staff,  this should have dried off after lunch so I can get the first coat on, hopefully with warm weather forecast it will dry fairly quickly so I can get  extra coats on.

Important date coming up, on Tuesday next week, it will be 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, as a 9 year old schoolboy at the time I found it exciting stuff.

This is also worth a look,

His childhood in Russia which included the German occupation and Mr Stalin wasn't that good.

Monday, 4 April 2011

New Additions

Firstly we are getting a new Elsan (Cassette/Porta-Potti) disposal shed at Kings Bromley, the new shed has a dividing wall so the other side will be the free Library/Magazine area were we can all leave Books and Magazines that we have finished with for others to use, the old shed had the Books and Magazines on a wobbly shelf at one end but it was always very untidy due to the lack of space, the new one will be much better.

The new shed, that's Ian in front of it. he's the Marina's Mr Fixit.

Project Manager      Ian
Slabbing                    Ian
Tiling                          Ian
Carpentry                 Ian
Plumbing                  Ian
Electrics                    Ian
You get the idea.

The other addition we have are 2 swan eggs, closely guarded by mom and dad.

Mom sits on the nest.

With dad on guard.duty.

Went to Wilkinsons today and stocked up on cheap paint rollers and brushes ready for the boat blacking at the weekend, looking forward to getting it done now.

I have also arranged 5 days Hillwalking in the Lake District for early May before we set off Cruising, more about the walking and the art of booking the cheapest train tickets later.